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New US Airways GSE Facility Increases Efficiency at PHL
Publication Date
September 17th 2011

 US Airways cut the ribbon on its new $22 million state-of-the-art, LEED Silver Certifiable, Ground Service Equipment (GSE) facility at the west end of Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) in Tinicum Township. The first of its kind for US Airways, the 57,000-square-foot building will handle repairs and maintenance on 770 pieces of motorized equipment and 1,200 pieces of non-motorized equipment that service US Airways’ approximately 800 daily departures and arrivals.


At the new facility, 16 vehicle maintenance bays, each equipped with overhead lube racks and vehicle exhaust systems, four overhead cranes that transverse the work-area, a two-bay weld shop, and other support maintenance systems have improved equipment turnaround and worker safety. State-of-the-art equipment, featuring nine inground lifts, two of which are rated at 150,000 pounds, and a stockroom utilizing advanced inventory control techniques, operate with just a touch of a button. The facility is the first building in Cargo City to comply with new security requirements, matching the PHL terminal areas. It has already increased operations efficiency for US Airways and PHL. “Every bay has what it needs, so we are already seeing an improvement in our turnaround time,” said Jim Brewer, manager of the GSE facility.


As the lead engineering firm, working with the architectural firm The Sheward Partnership, Urban provided its expertise from concept to completion, including the design, program management, and construction services for the facility. With extensive coordination required among stakeholders, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Tinicum Township, and the City of Philadelphia, Division of Aviation, as well as special consideration for the Division of Aviation’s security department and its procedures and policies, the project was very complex. Urban’s Project Manager John DiValentino, PE, LEED AP, stated, “Not only was it a priority to address stakeholder concerns prior to construction, but it remained important throughout the entire process. Maintaining open, constant lines of communication as well as developing close working relationships and trust was critical to the project’s success.” Brewer commented on the coordination among stakeholders, “If it weren’t for John DiValentino and Urban, I think we would still be designing this facility.”


The facility helps further the Green Airport Initiative of PHL and fits into a larger goal for the City of Philadelphia, which is striving to become the greenest city in America. Airport CEO Mark Gale stated, “The virtual nonstop required use of vehicles including baggage tractors and belt loaders has a direct impact on how well that airline is going to operate at the facility and on the environment in terms of noise, air emissions, and air quality.”(1)